New guidelines published on how to deal with abuse allegations in the Catholic Church

The NBSCCCI says these are "a substantial update" on 2008 measures

NBSCCCI, Catholic Church, abuse allegations, guidelines, new standards, Teresa Devlin

Priests wait for the start of a precession for the entry of the new custodian of the Catholic Church's properties in the Holy Land in Jerusalem's Old City | Image: Ariel Schalit / AP/Press Association Images

The National Board for the Safeguarding of Children on the Catholic Church in Ireland (NBSCCCI) has launched new guidelines on child safety.

The documents are to support how standards, agreed in March for safeguarding practice across the church, are to be implemented.

"These are the practical guides to implementing the standards," explained Teresa Devlin, CEO of the NBSCCCI.

"So, where a standard might talk about keeping good records, this will explain what is to be recorded, by whom and where it is to be stored and how it should be used."

The guidance also includes checklists for activities like recruiting new staff, templates for codes of behaviour when working with children, forms for notifying civil authorities and sample workshops for consultation with children and young people.

The NBSCCCI say these guidance documents are "a substantial update" on those originally produced in 2008.

"As we carried out our reviews we saw evidence that confusion over the implementation of the standards was taking place," Ms Devlin said.

"Also we noticed areas where new standards would be required."

Two new standards

There are now two new standards: one focuses on care and support for the complainant of abuse, while the other relates to care and management of the subject of allegations of abuse.

A dedicated set of guidance materials has been prepared for each of these.

The new standards also provide clarity for each bishop around what is required to ensure safe environments for children, and how to offer a pastoral response to those who come forward with allegations.

"Since the standards were originally adopted in 2008 we have seen legal changes that also had to be incorporated into the new guidance, for example, the establishment of National Vetting Bureau under the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Adults) Act 2012," Ms Devlin continued.

"Additionally the guidance now has much more advice regarding social media and the internet."

The new rules, advice and guidance on how to deal with abuse allegations run to 350 pages.